Merewether United staged a stunning second-half comeback to turn a 3-1 half-time deficit into a 4-3 win over minor premiers Warners Bay in an action-packed Herald Women’s Premier League grand final at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Sunday.
In a game that was closely contested and had a strong crowd on the edge of their seats Jenna Kingsley scored a first-half hat-trick before United’s Sarah Halvorsen produced a treble of her own in the second period.
The match was just 12 minutes old when Warners Bay defender Brooke Miller’s long ball landed beyond Merewether’s last line of defence and Kingsley streaked onto it before beating goalkeeper Alison Logue to slot into the net.
Warners Bay captain Nadja Squires sliced through the midfield around the 40-minute mark, passed wide to Sass Seaborn, who touched back inside to player-coach Cassidy Davis to pass to Kingsley, who this time chipped Logue.
United hit back two minutes later when Grace Macintyre drove into the 18-yard box and crossed into the goalmouth for Tayla Braithwaite to score from close range.
Kingsley struck again just before half-time.
United took control of the game in the second half and Halvorsen scored three goals in a devastating 17-minute period to give United their second championship win in WPL. She scored in the 66th, 76th and 83rd minutes.
They beat Valentine 3-2 in the 2015 decider.
United coach Cassie Koppen never doubted her side’s ability to fight back.
“In the first half we didn’t actually play poorly but it was just critical moments where we lapsed a bit of concentration and probably failed to stick to our role and they capitalised on it,” Koppen said.
“We were probably the more dominant team in the first half and we probably didn’t deserve to be 3-1 down.
“At half-time we said, ‘We’ve scored six and seven goals in a half before, we only need three to win’, and we did it. The girls love playing for each other and they love playing in this team, that’s something we really spoke about before the game and again at half-time, just doing it for each other and that’s was probably our strongest point.”
Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis was obviously disappointed but said it had been an amazing season.
“We wanted to go at them from the start and get in their face and I think we did that well but then we just lacked a bit of energy in the second half,” Davis said.
“They’re a team that is going to come at you and I think the girls’ legs got a bit tired.
“But I’m still proud of the girls, being minor premiers is a massive thing and to play a close game in the grand final, I can’t really be too upset. It’s been a good season.”
In the 18s decider Thornton beat Adamstown 2-0, Mid North Coast defeated South Wallsend 1-0 in the 16s grand final and Rosebud claimed the 14s championship with a 1-0 win over Wallsend.